A Managed IT Services Partner (MSP) is a team of trained, certified IT professionals capable of helping, advising, or flat out being your company’s IT department. For example, a company looking for Managed IT Services in Dallas may need help installing and configuring their network, adding virtualization, or backing up servers.
Another company looking for Managed IT services in Fort Worth, Texas may need Help Desk Support — maybe you need extra personnel or realize outsourcing the support team could improve efficiency and profit from gaining greater IT knowledge while paying lower labor costs.
Or, a Managed IT support service in the DFW area could help plan or improve cybersecurity to protect your company data. It could be you want to partner with a MSP to store data or develop new software. Those are just some of the many services a Managed IT services in Dallas, like BACS IT, can provide.
Benefits of Partnering with a MSP
An MSP gives you access to an external resource whose business is providing IT services for other companies. A good MSP has industry certifications like CISSP and ISSMP. Earning the CISSP credential indicates they have what it takes to design, implement and manage world class cybersecurity programs. ISSMP certification documents excellence in establishing, presenting and governing information security programs. Nothing gives data stewards that warm, fuzzy feeling like knowing their data integrity and security are intact.
The best IT companies in Dallas will have CISSP and ISSMP certifications, plus most — if not all — of their employees will hold relevant individual certifications, such as CompTIA A+, CCIE, CSM, Salesforce, and PMP.
So, the people at the top have the knowledge to design and implement IT solutions for Texas companies but their employees who will do most of the daily work for your enterprise are certifiably skilled and knowledgeable.
It is expensive for one company to employ a diverse range of IT professionals. It’s not just salaries and benefits, which are expensive. In today’s challenging hiring environment, more companies are chasing fewer qualified candidates, which drives up salaries. If your company is able to hire enough qualified developers and IT support staff, they need constant education and training to adjust to changing industry technologies and programming languages. And, things keep changing every year so hardware and network changes are constant, which may require even more IT support staff with specialized knowledge.
The beauty of outsourcing IT services in Dallas, Texas is enjoying the economies of scale that accrues from renting vs. buying. The MSP is paying all the personnel, hardware, software and network costs instead of your company, which pays a fixed contracted amount to provide the Service Level Agreement your enterprise needs.
Partnering with Managed IT services in Dallas, like BACS IT, lets your company focus on doing what you do best because your MSP is doing what they do best: serving the IT needs of other companies in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Help Desk Support
These Level 1 support specialists are the first line resource for technical assistance and support of computer systems, hardware and software. They answer user questions and resolve most user issues, escalating the remainder to Level II personnel such as developers and network administrators.
Help desk software often has expensive upfront costs and it takes time to deploy across all but the smallest of enterprises. The required resources of time and revenue are one reason why more companies in the Dallas/Fort Worth area rely on a managed IT services partner, like BACS IT, to serve as their Level I support.
Another factor in their decision is the ongoing help desk costs of maintenance, upgrades and scheduled downtime.
Robust security requires securing networks, applications, information, cloud data and storage. End user education, Incident Response, Disaster Recovery and network monitoring complement the core security measures the best IT companies in Dallas provide, to protect an enterprise.
Enterprises vital to society require even greater levels of protection to safeguard vital infrastructure needed for public safety, economic growth or national security. Homeland Security (https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/blog/2021/11/01/protecting-critical-infrastructure-top-st-priority) is directing resources to helping secure electrical and transportation grids from cyber threats designed to destabilize communities. Last year’s electrical grid failure caused more than 200 deaths and millions of Texas homes and businesses lacked power for days. That was not a result of a cyber attack but you can be sure some bad actor or rogue state noticed how much damage was caused by that grid failure. Cyber security protects against such threats.
Kronos, a Massachusetts company with a valuation greater than $1 billion, announced a massive breach Dec. 14 that included the possibility the ransomware group accessed the data of their customers. The Human Resources platform announced its services would be offline for a few weeks. That means customers such as Honda, with hundreds of Texas employees may be impacted. Dec. 17 is the last payday before Christmas for companies with biweekly payrolls.
American Honda Finance, with about 600 Texas employees, signed an office lease for about 30 percent more space at its Royal Ridge office in Irving, Texas, a suburb about 13 miles northwest of downtown Dallas, according to accessopartners.com, which added the company leased another 23,142 square feet — expanding to nearly 100,000 square feet.
Another large area company who contracts with Kronos is Whole Foods, the 90,000-employee company headquartered in Austin, Texas. Those Texans may not have a very Merry Christmas if their last check before Christmas is delayed a few weeks.
Besides ransomware attacks like that, other threats include information collectors such as the Russians who perpetrated the hack of Texas-based Solarwinds that infected the computers of more than 18,000 of its customers.
The motto is: you have to be prepared, you better have a good security detection and response plan, and you need a little luck.
Probably more than anything else, the complexity and cost of keeping out malicious actors makes managed IT services in Dallas, such as BACS IT, a powerful solution to a powerful problem. Advantages of using the Dallas IT solutions company is their cutting edge Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning tools to automate and enhance data security.
Artificial Intelligence pores through billions of data inputs to improve its knowledge about cybersecurity threats by analyzing malicious files, suspicious IP addresses or insider activity. As it sifts through all those data points, it is looking for recognizable patterns or relationships that mimic known cyber threats.
A task that would take a team of human IT support employees hours, or days, to comprehend is done in minutes by AI software. The software helps identify risks faster, which gives your MSP more time to decide how to best handle and recover from threats and/or data breaches.
Some of the many data inputs consumed by AI software includes the many reports about recently discovered attacks and research papers indicating possible exploits, which may include proven methods of closing the hole in your network.
They are “trained” to perform security acts like detecting malware and using pattern recognition to provide a rapid detection and warning of cyber attacks before your enterprise is compromised.
Obtaining the many data sets needed by AI software can cost a lot of human hours and fairly large financial investments that many companies would struggle to afford on their own. Which is why Dallas/Fort Worth Managed IT services partners like BACS IT make good business sense.
Data robots, usually just referred to as bots, are one of the primary tools used by hackers to make simultaneous attacks on many companies or swamp a particular enterprise’s servers to create a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.
Humans are unable to defend against continuous automated threats without using automated response technologies. AI and machine learning help distinguish between beneficial bots, such as Google web crawlers, and bad bots looking to create a beachhead in your system that they can expand to wage war against your system security.
Machine learning is the best defense cybersecurity specialists can deploy to counter the AI used by malicious actors trying to breach enterprise data systems. In addition to defending against AI-improved hacking tools, ML helps improve the anti-virus protections used by an enterprise.
Algorithms are the heart of ML, helping them complement AI to improve cybersecurity. AI is useful to distinguish between valid and potentially risky network connection attempts but would not think twice about a user authorizing with valid credentials.
ML can help curb criminal use of compromised company credentials because it models each user’s behavior. As the data set grows, things like logon and logout locations and procedures become known because — let’s face it — most humans are creatures of habit.
Sure, a sales team member may raise unnecessary flags occasionally by authenticating in different cities or countries. That’s because all unusual user behavior makes the machine learning algorithm sit up and notice it, which it can then pass to cybersecurity specialists to check out a possible anomaly.
As a complement to predictive capabilities of AI, machine learning may identify and stop phishing traps by monitoring the work emails of your employees to find features indicating a possible malicious mail.
Most people are familiar with the concept of data storage for their personal computers because they understand about saving their work, email, music and games to their hard drive or an external storage device like a thumb drive or CD/DVD. As memory has become less expensive the size of memory on personal computers has grown tremendously. For example, most new desktops have more RAM (working memory) than the 8 GB that was the amount of permanent memory on my first desktop’s hard drive. And, efficiency increases have put more memory in mobile phones than was used in the Apollo 13 rocket.
That type of localized data storage is not useful for companies with more than a few employees because business data needs to be shared. A local server on the company’s site allows sharing but a robust Disaster Recovery plan includes off-site copies of data. After all, what good is backing up your data on devices stored in the same building if that building is flooded or burns down? Networked-based storage provides the ability for scalable sharing of data and remote copies of backed up data and applications to help an enterprise rapidly recover from a disaster.
Desktop computers, servers, cabling, routers, printers and its network are important parts of an enterprise’s infrastructure. Many companies do not have or follow a plan that comprehensively connects all the components of its computing infrastructure with an eye to optimizing performance and customer service.
You can think of it like the road you drive to work every day. It may or may not be optimally designed or configured but, when it’s new, it is a smooth drive. Over time, traffic congestion gets worse, slowing down your commute. The ravages of time and heavy traffic enact a price in the form of potholes that range from annoying to dangerous. The highway department can only patch potholes for so long before the road surface needs to be replaced, slowing down traffic for months — maybe years — while the reconstruction project is conducted.
IT consulting companies in Dallas, such as BACS IT, can help plan or improve your company’s infrastructure to optimize traffic, improve speed through efficiency and use of the most modern hardware and software, which will help lower your enterprise spend. An enterprise with a data center can lose thousands of dollars per minute of downtime, which conflates with an IBM report that suggests replacing servers more frequently. Big Blue says more frequent server upgrades may substantially reduce server-related costs for maintenance, power and support.
An enterprise network usually includes wireless components. The cost of keeping pace with rapidly evolving standards can be expensive. It wasn’t that long ago since 3G replaced LTE WiFi but now — before 5G has finished building out nationwide — a newer 6G standard, offering wireless speed up to 9.6 GB per second, is becoming available. The cost-sharing from partnering with a Dallas managed IT services company like BACS IT adds an ability to use the newest technologies without having to pay for all the hardware and personnel costs associated with upgrading.
Installations and Upgrades
IT companies in Dallas/Fort Worth can add extra memory, install and configure hard drives, video cards and related hardware for you that adhere to your company specifications. As high-performance computers become used more, an enterprise may have trouble getting necessary equipment like laptops for distribution to employees working from home during COVID-19 lockdowns. An MSP could help by sharing devices from their inventory as well as installing and updating all the apps and other software needed to perform their jobs remotely.
Employees appreciate being saved the time and possible aggravation of finding, installing and updating a new laptop to make it work-ready. An enterprise would appreciate having their outsourced IT department ghost images to the new laptops that contain all the needed software, which is uniformly updated to the latest version from code provided by the third-party vendors. That enhances security by reducing security vulnerabilities that may be introduced by employees who may not be that comfortable with technology. Just as computer programmers are usually not creative types who flourish in arts or entertainment, it’s unreasonable to expect everyone to be as technically knowledgeable as computer professionals.
Managed IT service providers in Dallas, such as BACS IT, can make sure the laptops, tablets and mobile phones are properly and professionally configured. They can also enforce enterprise security protocols by disabling cameras on smartphones, restricting bluetooth connectivity and preventing data transfer to external devices such as disks or thumb drives.
Networks and Virtualization
Virtualization software pools server resources to improve performance of your company’s virtual machines by allocating your computing resources efficiently between virtual machines that emulate a physical workstation.
Virtualization software benefits an enterprise by lowering costs, improving backups and Disaster Recovery efforts. One way virtualization can lower company costs is by efficient use of software, which lowers licensing and royalty costs. For instance, an enterprise with 1,000 employees may want 900 of them to use Microsoft Word but only 400 of them to use Microsoft Access. In a model where software is installed locally on user devices, many companies install the entire office suite on all 1,000 employee devices because it can save time. Virtualization can reduce the number of annual licenses needed because the software can be distributed to machines that need a particular application while withholding it from users who would never use it. Those savings increase drastically when talking about licenses for creative software like Adobe products or development environments like Visual Studio or Sql Server Management Studio.
Do you have enough developers to grow your business as fast as your corporate visionaries find new business opportunities? Are they capable of quickly coding new applications using modern languages and methodologies to support business expansion? You are not alone if the answer to either of the questions is a “No.” Even before the Great Resignation, finding qualified developers and support staff was a constant struggle for many companies, which has been exacerbated by the withdrawal from the work force that resulted from COVID-19.
Managed IT service providers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area have qualified developers that can integrate with your development team to design better software that is securely coded in reasonable time frames and tested thoroughly before a proof-of-concept is sent to market.
We Get By with a Little Help from Our Friends
The shortage of qualified IT personnel and the expense attendant on recruiting, training, and retaining them makes siloed IT departments more difficult to justify than even ten years ago. Lowering IT costs while gaining access to a greater pool of qualified, certified IT professionals whose business is serving the IT needs of companies just like yours, make partnering with a managed IT service provider a good business decision.
Whether you just need someone to plan or implement data backup or a disaster relief plan, or if you want to turn over the majority of your IT department tasks to a MSP, it is good to know there are qualified computer professionals that have your back when things look bleak. To find out more, contact BACS IT today and talk with one of our qualified IT consultants to discuss covering your unique IT needs.